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Old April 5, 2013, 06:33 PM   #26
Hydrostatic Shock
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Tumbling brass not really successful

Make certain u have real walnut. I've never seen it pulverize down at all. Even after using the same for 5 days of tumbling. It will dust up real bad and I only use corn cob now. I hate the dust coat that old walnut uses.

As already said you need some polish in the mix. Nu-Finish is awesome and used by a lot of reloaders.
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Old April 5, 2013, 10:06 PM   #27
mehavey
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Quote:
Quote:
....Not getting media stuck in the flash-hole/primer pocket and then having to clean them out in a(nother) separate step.
It also cleans/polishes the inside neck before sizing -- making the neck expander spindle much happier.
That's very confusing. He tumbles after decapping, so the first part of your reason doesn't make sense and then I'm hearing that the inside of the case doesn't really get cleaned by tumbling (which seems to be the case) so the second reason doesn't make sense either.
If you decap then tumble, more likely than not you'll find tumbler material left in/blocking the flash hole. So it's either resize/deprime (the material) again or take a toothpick to each case. Why do that twice?

Second, you do get an internal scouring effect inside the case (just not shiny again) and you do get a cleaning/smoothing (not shiny) effect inside the neck. That makes withdrawing the expander noticeably easier.
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Old April 5, 2013, 10:20 PM   #28
buckhorn_cortez
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If you want shiny brass - read this thread from the Box O' Truth.
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Old April 5, 2013, 10:43 PM   #29
Cesure
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I guess I just don't get the whole shiny brass thing. If it doesn't matter to the gun, the bullets, the powder, the primers, or the brass, I don't see why it should matter to me. I'm just shooting it, not taking it out on a date. I can see doing things that make the brass last longer as being worthwhile (e.g. citric acid, annealing, etc.) and I can appreciate the ability to see case flaws easier, but there's a point where it seems obsessive. I guess I'm just a slob.
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Old April 6, 2013, 01:15 AM   #30
david_r
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So why you tumbling again? When I first started reloading, it was for a 357. I didn't have a tumbler or a giant bucket of brass. I went through a few pounds of powder and never needed to clean the brass. It all shot just fine.
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Old April 6, 2013, 08:50 AM   #31
thump_rrr
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It's simply using the correct product for the application.

If you want to use a rotary tumbler you must use either Stainless Steel media or ceramic media in a wet solution.

If you want to use a vibratory tumbler you must either use Corn Cob media or Crushed Walnut media dry.
People do add either a polishing agent or mineral spirits to dry media but the media does stay for all intents and purposes dry.

You can use Ceramic media in a vibratory or walnut in a rotary but you are just spinning your wheels.
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Old April 6, 2013, 10:00 AM   #32
Strafer Gott
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I polish before decapping to clean the case before it goes to the resizing die.
The second tumbling cleans the primer pocket and finishes the case back to shiney. This cleans the primer pocket as well. I put the cases in the can, then add walnut until the can is about 2/3 full. You can hear the cases falling against the inside of the can. It's quite dynamic. .45 Colt cases with carbon on the outside from blowby clean right up in an hour or so. It's an industrial tumbler that I spotted in a salvage yard, so it isn't a toy. When I saw it the lights came on. I pour the can contents through an oversized cat box scoop, bounce them into an empty can,
one more trip through the scoop, and they're done. Walnut stuck in flash holes is an odd occurence, and on examination, the primer pockets are factory clean. The brand of walnut I use is Kaytee pet bird litter. It's small enough to go in the pocket, but not the flash hole.
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Old April 6, 2013, 10:19 AM   #33
Cesure
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So why you tumbling again?
Maybe I don't have to be. The exteriors meet my standards, but the interiors are crudded up with verdi gris. I'm concerned that will only get worse. Vinegar didn't wash it out much.
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Old April 6, 2013, 11:11 AM   #34
Unclenick
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Try the citric acid. I use a 5% solution (7 ounces powder added to a gallon of water, plus a few drops of dishwashing liquid to assist wetting and dirt suspension) in a heated ultrasonic (about 140°F). I used to have (but can't find) a video I'd made wherein I immersed one heavily corroded cases for 15 seconds, and it comes out with only the black oxide remaining. Warm citric acid is quick, though the stuff below had about 1/2 and hour altogether to get primer pockets clean.

The pink is where zinc is gone from the brass. It's not deep and polishes off to leave brass color alone.

BEFORE and AFTER:


BEFORE:


AFTER:



The main reason I polish brass exteriors is the polished brass is easier to find in the grass after ejection.
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Old April 6, 2013, 11:45 AM   #35
Cesure
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The main reason I polish brass exteriors is the polished brass is easier to find in the grass after ejection.
Now that makes sense. I'm only reloading revolver cartridges so far, but I'll get around to semi-auto and rifle cartridges eventually. Unfortunately, I live out in the sticks and products like Zilla, Kaytee, and citric acid don't seem to be locally available and it would be cheaper to retire these cases than pay the S&H. I'm still looking for local sources. I don't have a US cleaner, but I can swish it around in something or find some way to vibrate it.
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Old April 6, 2013, 12:20 PM   #36
david_r
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Cesure,
Lemishine powder seems to be popping up all over. I just noticed it at my crappy grocery store by the dishwashing soap.

Citric acid is used in canning and wine making and beer brewing. Any store that sells canning jars should have it as well as any store that caters to vintners/brewers.

I would try a very mild solution to clean your verdigris. Say a 1/4 tsp in a gallon of warm water and watch carefully. Pink brass was over cleaned.
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Old April 6, 2013, 12:39 PM   #37
Cesure
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I pulled up the MSDS for Lemi Shine and the two ingredients are trade secret, but it certainly looks like the main ingredient could be citric acid. Thanks. If I can't find it, there is a winery nearby where brewing and winemaking supplies are sold. I'm sure I could pay an outrageous price for citric acid there.
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Old April 6, 2013, 09:24 PM   #38
reynolds357
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I use Lyman corn cobb media. Bought a bunch of it 10 or so years ago and still have several jugs left. Brass looks new in a couple of hours.
Cesure, you can get citric acid at almost any pharmacy. They keep it behind the counter in bulk.
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Old April 7, 2013, 09:23 AM   #39
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Originally Posted by david r
…a 1/4 tsp in a gallon of warm water and watch carefully. Pink brass was over cleaned.
No. Actually, one of the nice features of citric acid is that it's non-corrosive and self-limiting in reaction with brass (unlike with steel), and once the oxide is gone it stops reacting. So it doesn't matter what concentration you use as long as it's enough to clean the brass. It leaves the surface passivated and more resistant to corrosion than polishing does. For this reason it is used in industry to treat brass that will be stored for long periods.

What you see as pink appears only where the oxide was heavy and old. The zinc gets oxidized a little deeper into the grain surface than the copper, so copper is what you see at the surface when the oxide is reduced by citric acid, but it's microscopically thin. Corncob and polish in a vibratory case cleaner takes it right back to bright, shiny brass, so it's thinner than brass polishing normally removes. I'm sorry I didn't take care to arrange the brass in the lower picture of the .30-06 cases in the same order and orientation they'd had in the upper photo to make it more obvious. In that instance I polished to be able to inspect the brass better and look for pits, but normally I would not polish after cleaning with citric acid. Just rinse.

The recommendation to use 5% citric acid solution (and higher in hard water) came from the 1981 edition of the NRA book, Handloading, page 77. That solution lasts a long time and cleans a lot of cases. It was originally recommended by Frankford Arsenal. Note that you can use much less citric acid if your water is not hard and you are going to toss the solution after use. This thread at the Castboolits forum starts with the recommendations that you just put enough boiling hot water in a glass or plastic bowl to cover your brass and add a couple of teaspoons of the acid and dip the brass in for a few minutes. It stretches out to 27 pages with everything from other cleaning methods to cheesecake recipes, if you care to spend your day reading it all.

Citric acid is not only used in canning and wine making but is also may be found as sour salt the kosher food section of some groceries. But all those sources tend to be pricey because of the quantities involved. I've not tried a pharmacy as a source, so I don't know how much they ask for it and have no idea why they have it at all. I know it is used to adjust the pH of detergents, like in baby shampoo, and maybe they've got some similar application.

The source of citric acid I use is here. For $27, shipping included, you get ten pounds, which will make about 23 gallons of 5% solution. He sells smaller quantities with free shipping, too, but 10 lbs is where the pricing gets good and is enough to make a co-purchase with friends a reasonable thing to do. The service I got from Duda was prompt.
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Old April 8, 2013, 10:14 PM   #40
droptrd
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I started wet tumbling recently. I use stainless media along with a t-spoon of lemishine and a couple drops of dish soap. I have a 6lb rotary from harbor freight. Brass come out like new after 2-3 hours.
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